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Understanding Your Audience – Baby Boomers

Note: This blog is part of a series for marketers which describes the characteristics, values and preferences of various generations.


Baby Boomers

Baby BoomersThe last generation analyzed in this blog series are the Baby Boomers. Individuals in this generation were born between 1946 and 1964. According the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015 there were 75.4 million baby boomers making them one of the largest generations in U.S. history. Baby Boomers were born after World War II when the United States experienced a sharp rise in birth rates. They grew up as technology, like television, was emerging.

Baby Boomers place high importance on careers, money, hard work, recognition and prestige. According to Value Options, they value individual choice, community involvement, prosperity, ownership, self-actualizing, and health and wellness.

Baby Boomers use both new and old technology. Their most used form of communication is a cell phone followed by broadband at home, a smartphone and tablet. Additionally, they prefer email more than text. They are likely to use the Internet for email, search engines, hobbies, directions and health information. To effective influence this audience, your marketing or public relations strategy should include carefully selected online, broadcast and print communication channels.

Of all the social media sites, Baby Boomers can best be reached via Facebook with 52 percent of the younger boomers and 46 percent of the older boomers on Facebook. They are just beginning to warm up to other social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram.

According to WordStream, “The Boomers are the most likely to misunderstand Facebook remarketing ads clogging up their Newsfeeds but still are receptive to direct marketing and sales tactics; they like to talk to real people.” Although Baby Boomers are beginning to use technology and social media platforms more, they still prefer face-to-face communication more than any other form of communication. They tend to be wary of the impacts these gadgets and platforms have on society (Pew Research Study).

Public relations professionals should use social media platforms to build trust with Baby Boomers by being transparent and factual in their communications. Content targeted to this generation must be clear, simple and concise or they will quickly become skeptical of the organization’s authenticity. Facebook is the best platform to reach Boomers because they are just beginning to become engaged with networking sites such as Twitter and Instagram. Old media, more specifically television, tends to be the most viewed/used form of media.

Cook + Schmid Developed Article Published in Etihad Airways’ In-Flight Magazine

Etihad In Flight

Etihad Airways has partnered with IBM to transform the company into the world’s first “cognitive” airline. In doing so, Etihad Airways needed a strategic communications program to inform Etihad leadership and staff, its technology and innovation group, partners, stakeholders and the public of its new capabilities and programs. Cook + Schmid crafted a communications plan including positioning and messaging for each audience. The plan also identified various communications channels. To make audiences aware of the company’s evolution, Cook + Schmid staff developed email templates, newsletter articles and other digital and print collateral, including an article published in Etihad Airways’ in-flight magazine.

To read the full article, please click here.



Understanding Your Audience – Generation X

Note: This blog is part of a series for marketers which describes the characteristics, values and preferences of various generations.

Generation X


Generation X

Members of Generation X are the parents of Millennials and Gen Z. They were born between 1965 and 1980. Individuals in this generation are sometimes called “latchkey children,” because both of their parents worked, which led them to be unsupervised most of the time. As they grew up, there was also an increase in divorce rates and tough economic times.

Gen X is much smaller in size compared to Millennials and Baby Boomers. They are known to hold significantly different characteristics than younger generations although early members hold traits of Baby Boomers and late members have some Millennial traits (Maye Create Design).

Gen Xers are considered skeptical and quick to question, goal-oriented and multi-taskers. Additionally, they value freedom, flexibility, recognition, mobility and diversity. They focus on value, are financially responsible and self-reliant leading them to respond better to factual messages that demonstrate cost versus value. It’s important for this generation to get a good value for their hard-earned dollars. Keep these attributes in mind, particularly the focus on value, when crafting your public relations or marketing messages.

When it comes to technology, Gen X adapts well to new technologies. They grew up during the emergence of the personal computer, lived through the dot-com bust and the introduction of the cell phone. According to Nielsen’s Generational Snapshot Study, “At 70 percent, Generation X leads the way in terms of national tablet penetration.”

Although this group is technologically savvy, they still gravitate toward traditional media platforms. A study shows that 48 percent listen to the radio, 62 percent still read newspapers and 85 percent have favorite television shows (Forrestor Research). When communicating with Gen X, traditional channels should not be overlooked because a clear majority still value information from these sources. An integrated public relations or marketing strategy, incorporating both digital and traditional communications, is typically the most effective in engaging this group.

Their quick adoption of new technologies and comfort in traditional media platforms allow Gen X to be reached by multiple communication channels. “A survey by Millward Brown Digital found that 60 percent of Xers use a smartphone daily and 75 percent are routinely on social networks” (Ad Week). Communication channels such as email and email marketing work well for this generation. The tone of the message should be informational, and emphasize the benefits received.

Email marketing campaigns can be effective when trying to get their attention and so can other platforms such as social media, television and radio. While Gen Xers like a more-straight forward approach, they can still appreciate a humorous message when done well.

Understanding Your Audience – Millennials

Note: This blog is part of a series for marketers which describes the characteristics, values and preferences of various generations.

Generation Y


Generation Y

Generation Y, better known as Millennials, were born between 1981 and 1997. This group includes more than 60 million people in the United States. This generation is constantly being studied and analyzed for their distinctly different lifestyles and values than prior generations. They are more digital- and tech-savvy than previous generations. For this reason, they favor digital communication and new media and are difficult to reach via traditional platforms such as broadcast or print.

Millennials believe each digital communication platform serves a different purpose. They tend to assign unique uses for each platform or application. For example, email is for serious communication and social media is for fun messages. Email is used for work or school while social media is for friends. According to a consumer purchase preference survey by MarketingSherpa, 59 percent of female and 48 percent of male Millennials preferred email on their smartphone when they are away from their computers. Millennials can be easily reached via smartphone at many hours of the day. Their comfort level using social media and the Internet leads Millennials to spend an average of 25 hours online every week.

Like Gen Zers, it’s important to send your messages via digital platforms to reach Millennials. They receive a large portion of news via social media and are greatly influenced from what they learn online. For example, Millennials are twice as likely to buy something they have learned about via social media compared to older generations.

As far as content goes, Millenials respond better to user-generated content, which gives them an opportunity to immerse themselves in the experience (Mashable). Social media campaigns targeting Millennials should be aware that this group is drawn to online experiences and get even more engaged with experiences they can share with others. They live in their own digital world and continuously share their lives with friends online.

A marketing or promotional campaign that gives Millennials opportunities to post their own content such as videos, photos and posts is exciting to this group. Campaigns, like online photo contests, are particularly appealing. This audience is also particularly well suited for targeted digital marketing programs and advertising campaigns.

Overall, when communicating with Millennials, remember that they incorporate social media and the Internet into their everyday lives. Choosing to engage them through television or radio would more than likely reach only a few. They like to actively participate in social media efforts and respond better to two-way communication.

Cook + Schmid Awarded Gold Hermes Creative Award for National Campaign to Engage with Millennials


May 9, 2017

Contact: Katie Schaa
619-814-2370 ext. 18

Cook + Schmid Awarded Gold Hermes Creative Award
for National Campaign to Engage with Millennials

SAN DIEGO, CA – Cook + Schmid announced today that the firm is the recipient of the national 2017 Gold Hermes Creative Award from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP) for work conducted as part of a campaign designed to engage with millennials to take action for birds and bird conservation.

Cook + Schmid earned the award for one of a series of posters that celebrate the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty. The posters and other materials reflect a strategy to make the milestone more relevant to younger generations. The Migratory Bird Treaty is an accord between the U.S. and Canada designed to protect birds and habitats critical to their survival.

Working with its client, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Cook + Schmid developed a complete brand and supporting materials, including a logo for the centennial campaign and online and print collateral. The project utilized original artwork that reflected a “graffiti bird” style to evoke urban youthfulness while highlighting the natural beauty of the birds themselves.

In addition to the posters, Cook + Schmid developed a social media strategy, social media content, and collateral materials. Cook + Schmid also created a series of infographics and other assets that were widely shared online.

The strategy for the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial was based on research into attitudes, levels of awareness, values, and other psychographic information pertaining to the target audiences. In particular, the campaign was designed extend the campaign beyond bird watchers and environmentalists, while still resonating with those groups.

To see the full series of posters, go to

About Cook + Schmid

Cook + Schmid is a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations firm in San Diego, CA. Clients include private and public companies, organizations, institutions, and government agencies. Cook + Schmid offers multi-cultural marketing and public outreach, as well as social media, website, interactive technologies, and mobile application development. For more information, please visit


Understanding Your Audience – Generation Z

Note: This blog is part of a series for marketers which describes the characteristics, values and preferences of various generations.

Generation ZGeneration Z

Generation Z, also known as digital natives, were born between 1998 and 2009. This cohort was born in a generation that experienced the exponential growth of technology over a relatively short period of time. Gen Zers are the first generation to grow up with the Internet and social media platforms, which makes them a very technologically savvy group. They are known to be highly educated, diverse individuals who value making a difference in the world.

Gen Zers spend a lot of time on their phones and online. They are exceptional multitaskers, and tend to search the web, message their friends and scroll through social media sites at the same time. Members of this group respond better to exciting, engaging content that is clever and visually appealing.

Gen Zers place a higher importance on some social media sites more than others. According to The Center for Generational Kinetics, “Gen Z views Facebook as being for ‘older generations.’” Gen Zers also dislike Facebook because it’s too cluttered and uses more personal information than other social media sites. Their top social media sites include Instagram and Snapchat, which allow users to have a more direct, personal relationship with friends and followers, and are also visually appealing because of the emphasis placed on photos and videos on these platforms. Snapchat’s emphasis on temporary content is also appealing to Gen Zers.

According to the Center for Generational Kinetics, “42 percent of Gen Z feels that social media has a direct impact on how they feel about themselves.” This statistic is important; it expresses how impactful social media is on the lives of more than 23 million individuals. If social media can influence the way a person feels about themselves, it can also greatly influence how a person feels about an organization or cause.

What does this all mean for public relations and marketing professionals? When communicating with Gen Zers, keep three things in mind. First, be knowledgeable of the platforms Gen Zers spend most of their time on to better reach this audience. Second, create content that allows Gen Zers to participate and feel as if they can be contributors. User-generated content draws this group in and gives them a sense of belonging and importance. Third, visual appeal is held at highest regard and should not be compromised.

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